A Functional Medicine approach puts you in control of your seasonal allergies!
It’s that time of year again. Sinus congestion, itchy eyes, sniffles, sneezing and a cough that just won’t quit are all reminders that Spring allergies are here! Pollen season hits in full swing covering a number of cars in films of yellow dust. If you suffer with seasonal allergies (or hay fever), it can be one of the most miserable times of the year. Seasonal allergies, often called hay fever, affect more than 50 million Americans and are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the United States. As seasonal irritants like pollen begin to emerge, many experience allergy symptoms that could be confused for more serious illness and might prevent the immune system from mounting a robust response to novel infections.
This season, take back your health with a holistic, all natural approach.
Understanding allergens and how to both diagnose and treat accurately and effectively can save you time and energy. Finding the root cause of your symptoms can also help explain how different food and lifestyle measures coincide with your immune response.
What causes Seasonal Allergies?
When your body encounters foreign invaders from the outside environment, it triggers the body’s production of inflammatory molecules. Allergens in our environment such as pollen, create the perfect storm for an aggravated immune system and an increase in allergy symptoms. These immune molecules tell the immune system, MOUNT A RESPONSE, to eliminate the foreign substances. This attack leaves your body in the crosshairs- leading to symptoms such as runny nose, asthma attacks and fatigue as a result!
What natural steps can we take to reduce symptoms?
- Filter indoor air– one of the best ways to reduce indoor irritants is to filter air through a filter. Avoid artificial fragrances that come from cleaning products and air fresheners, and make sure air ducts are clean and free of debris.
- Limit exposure- sometimes the best defense is reducing your exposure to the offending substances in the first place. Keep doors and windows closed during allergy season, and make sure you keep up with filter maintenance on your HVAC system.
- Launder bedding and clothes– bedding and clothes can harbor dust, dander, pollen and other allergy triggers. Allergens can also “hitch a ride” on your clothing. Change clothing as soon as you get home to reduce allergens.
- Another important consideration is stress. Yes, stress! It turns out that “perceived stress” drives allergy flares (although the biochemistry of stress is rather ‘real’, not at all ‘perceived’). Tap into what works for you to both reduce triggers of emotional stress and manage that stress response, whether it be exercise, supportive relationships, breathing techniques, mindfulness or meditation.
Did you know that Optimum Healthcare provides Emotional Coding? Read More about it here.
- Clear nasal passages– Seasonal allergies are most frequently triggered by particles making their way into the body through the sinus passages. A Neti pot or a nasal spray with grapefruit seed extract and xylitol are safe and effective ways to flush the nasal passages and clear them of inflammatory allergens.
- Recirculation– While riding in the car, have your air conditioner on the “recirculate air” setting.
- Hydration– As importantly, get yourself properly hydrated. You should aim to consume about half your body weight (lbs.) in fluid ounces, spread throughout the day. Proper hydration reduces the histamine response. You can also look into IV Therapy to really pack a punch and give you essential vitamins and minerals directly into your bloodstream!
Did you know that Optimum Healthcare provides IV Therapy? Learn More about IV Therapy here.
Heal a leaky gut– Having a healthy gut is your first line of defense against allergy symptoms. Yes, diet helps with allergies too! Approximately 70-80% of your immune system resides in your gut. Your diet can affect allergies in a couple of ways. Treatment included appropriate laboratory testing, targeted supplementation, and steps to reduce gut inflammation. Properly nourishing your gut with anti-inflammatory foods, introducing prebiotics and probiotics, digestive enzymes in some cases all improve gut health and are essential for a balanced immune system and balanced response. Inadvertently, cleaning up your diet and identifying food intolerances will allow the gut to heal, which will lead to even more relief from allergies. The majority of your immune system is in your gut, so it really does make sense to eat clean and heal the gut if you want to work on the root cause of your suffering 🙂
Make your appointment today with Dr. Tracey McIntyre to work on feeling better this allergy season.